American RadioWorks: Hard Times in Middletown

In 1929 the Rockefeller Institute published a scientific study of a "typical American city." Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture took an intimate look at church, school, family and work in Muncie, Indiana. The book was an instant hit and is still in print. It launched Muncie's reputation as the most widely studied small town in the world. Today Muncie is a rust-belt city grappling with de-industrialization and deepening recession. As they watch the plants close, many middle-class, middle-aged, Middle-American residents are left without choices. This American RadioWorks documentary helped us understand how the economic crisis is affecting the people who defined the American middle class.

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